A Story of Personal Renovation after Coming ‘Home’ Again
You may have seen her walking at Logan Farm Park or biking around town. A lifelong Cobb County resident, Rhoda Vickers Hendrix, and her husband Mark, are relatively new to Acworth, and loving the many amenities offered in their new hometown.
A professional lifestyle blogger and co-founder of Haven, an annual conference for bloggers, Hendrix has thousands of readers who are drawn to her unassuming and down-to-earth nature. Her sincerity and casual communication style attract women of all ages and stages from around the country and beyond. To many, it’s like sitting on the front porch sipping a glass of sweet iced tea while chatting with a close friend about repurposing a flea market find, her mom’s recipes or her dad’s garden. Now 62, Hendrix sets an example for women over 50 on overcoming life’s obstacles and realizing their dreams.
After a difficult divorce in 2011, she found herself alone, a victim of bankruptcy, and without a home. Her parents, then in their 80s, along with her sister and brother-in-law, arrived in Birmingham to move her back “home” to Marietta. Her parents’ home was a welcome retreat, where Hendrix began her personal renovation of sorts.
Having worked in the corporate world most of her life, she considered pursuing blogging at the professional level, but wondered whether she could provide for herself financially. At the time, blogging and social media were somewhat new to the cultural landscape. With experience in interior design, thrifting and DIY projects, she developed the Southern Hospitality blog, which has grown exponentially since then. As a woman of faith, Hendrix shares her story frankly with her readers, telling how God sustained her through difficult losses and blessed her immeasurably.
The blog expanded into other areas of interest, like fashion over 50, travel, and health and fitness. But the posts that receive the most favorable comments are those featuring Hendrix’s parents, now in their 90s, and other family members. Many of her readers relate to her traditional upbringing, family ties and traditions. Others share how they enjoy reading about close family relationships, because they never experienced them. All are inspired and encouraged after visiting with Hendrix’s family through her blog.
In 2012, when the economy still was recovering, Hendrix, with help from her parents, purchased a 1970s house in foreclosure that they completely renovated. Working side-by-side with her dad, a retired preacher, accomplished carpenter and man of many talents, proved daunting at times, with a little good natured bickering. Hendrix documented each step of the renovation for her readers, who loved the interaction between the two.
Also in 2012, Hendrix partnered with other bloggers to develop a professional conference for bloggers. The conference, Haven, was held in Atlanta for six years and Charleston, South Carolina, in 2018. Annually, Haven offers 300 bloggers from around the country an opportunity to connect with others, attend workshops, meet vendors and be inspired. Hendrix is most proud of Haven’s success and the work she and the Haven team put into the conference. She since has left Haven, but the conference continues and has launched the careers of many home décor and DIY bloggers.
Early in her blogging career, Hendrix was invited to Ree Drummond’s the Pioneer Woman ranch for a brand collaboration. Many other opportunities have occurred since, such as visiting Magnolia as a guest of Chip and JoAnna Gaines’ paint brand launch, interviewing Donny Osmond about his new furniture line, and numerous other brand collaborations. Her partnership with brands continues to grow and increase her readership and Instagram followers.
Two years ago, Hendrix married Mark and the pair purchased a house near downtown Acworth. They make a great team, with his skills as a DIY craftsman and her interior design and home renovation experience. Together, they tackled their house, creating a style that reflects both their tastes, and resulting in a beautiful, traditional and eclectic home. They enjoy hosting family and friends and are thankful they found each other at this stage of life.
Hendrix continues to give God the glory as her business and marriage grow, “for he is the master renovator.” She shares her favorite Scripture on her blog from Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths.”
Women who know the devastating loss of divorce or widowhood, or who seek a new direction in life, can find encouragement in Hendrix’s story of personal renovation. While sitting on the porch sipping a glass of sweet iced tea, she would tell them to follow their hearts and chase their dreams, because it’s never too late to start over or find love again.
– Vicki Davis, an Atlanta native, frequently visited her parents’ hometown of Acworth.